Turkish prosecutors are seeking up to four years and eight months in jail for veteran actors and comedy pioneers Metin Akpınar and Müjdat Gezen on charges of “insulting” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on a TV program.
Thecharges against Akpınar (77) and Gezen (75) concern their remarksduringa television show called Public Arena hosted by journalist UğurDündar on secularist channel Halk TV on Dec. 21, 2018.
During the program, Akpınar drew attention to the polarization in Turkey, putting the blame on the Erdoğan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Akpınar said Turkey needed to be more democratic and if that wasn't achieved peacefully, "maybe leaders could be hung from their feet or poisoned in cellars."
On the same program, Gezen said: "He [Erdoğan] tells the people 'know your place'. Look Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, you cannot test our patriotism. Know your place."
Afterwards,Erdoğan lashed out the two actors during a speech in Istanbul,saying: "We cannot leave this business without giving aresponse, they [Akpınar, Gezen] will pay the price." On thesame day, an investigation was launched into the two men.
On Dec. 24, 2018, Istanbul police escorted Akpınar and Gezen first to the prosecutor's office for questioning and then to a court, which imposed a travel ban on the two actors and ordered them to report to a police station every week.
The probe has been since still ongoing and the men were formally charged after the Istanbul Anatolian Penal Court of First Instance on July 7 accepted the prosecutors' indictment seeking up to four years and eight months in jail for each of the actors.
The hearing process will start in the upcoming days.
Thousands of Turks including artists and journalists have been prosecuted in recent years on charges of "insulting" Erdoğan.Pro-gov't daily's referring to actor Gezen as 'pimp' is within freedom of press, says top court